DRUGS, STOLEN ATV’S AND GUNS LEAD MAN TO 2O YEAR SENTENCE-SCIOTO COUNTY PROSECUTOR MARK E. KUHN

          DRUGS, STOLEN ATV’S AND GUNS LEAD MAN TO 2O YEAR SENTENCE

August 18, 2016

Elsworth Chafin     Scioto County Prosecutor, Mark Kuhn announced today that on August 16, 2016, a Scioto County Petit Jury returned a verdict of guilty on sixteen (16) charges filed against Elsworth Chafin, III, age 30, of West Portsmouth, Ohio.  The jury deliberated for just over two hours before retuning guilty verdicts against Chafin for six (6) drug charges involving heroin, nine (9) charges for Receiving Stolen Property, being ATV’s and one count of Possession Criminal Tools.

The investigation of Chafin began when Detective Jodi Conkel, of the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office, contacted Det. John Koch of the Southern Ohio Drug Task Force at 3:00 A.M. on April 1, 2016, to inquire about a West Portsmouth man who went by the name of ‘Booter’.  Det. Conkel had learned though informants that a man using the name of ‘Booter’ was buying stolen four wheeled ATV’s with cash and heroin.  Det. Koch was also working a narcotic’s investigation on an individual using the name “Booter”.  The two worked that morning on identifying this person and learned that his name was Elsworth Chafin.

Following an undercover drug buy, the Scioto County Adult Probation Department conducted a home visit on Chafin’s residence.  Chafin had been on probation for a misdemeanor theft offense.  Upon arriving at the residence, probation officers asked for the assistance of the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office and the Southern Ohio Drug Task Force.  In total the Sheriff’s Office seized eight (8) stolen four wheelers from Chafin’s residence and one additional stolen four wheeler from a different location, which was linked to Chafin.  The Detectives also seized a stolen firearm and over fifteen (15) grams of heroin, and items used in drug trafficking, from Chafin and his residence.  In total, the Scioto County Sheriff’s office recovered twenty-two (22) stolen ATV’s, from different individuals, as part of their investigation of the thefts.

The State’s case was presented by Prosecuting Attorney, Mark Kuhn and Assistant Prosecutor Shane Tieman.  The State presented the testimony of twenty-one (21) individuals and seventy (70) exhibits throughout the trial.

On August 17, 2016 the matter was set for sentencing before Judge William T. Marshall.  Chafin had three prior felony convictions and  previously been sentenced to prion on two prior occasions.  On that date Judge Marshall sentenced Chafin to twenty (20) years in the custody of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitations and Corrections. Chafin remains lodged in the Scioto County Jail pending transport to the Ohio Penitentiary at Orient.

FUGITIVE WHO EVADED ARREST SENTENCED TO 30 YEARS-SCIOTO COUNTY PROSECUTOR MARK E. KUHN

FUGITIVE WHO EVADED ARREST FOR THREE YEARS SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR 30 YEARS

August 18, 2016

Yesterday, justice caught up with Michel L. Ross, three years after he pled guilty to three drug felonies but failed to appear for his sentencing hearing.  Scioto County Common Pleas Court Judge William T. Marshall sentenced Ross, 43, of Columbus, to prison for 30 years, fulfilling the court’s March 2013 warning to Ross about the consequences of not appearing at his July 9, 2013 sentencing hearing.

Ross was indicted by the Scioto County Grand Jury after a search warrant was executed on his business, Judah’s Jams, located on 11th Street in Portsmouth.  Drug officers seized large quantities of bath salts and controlled substance analogs, also called synthetic drugs.  Ross also sold counterfeit clothing, music, and movie DVD’s, all of which were part of the racketeering charges which spanned October through December 2011.

On March 22, 2013, Ross entered a plea of guilty to Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, (the Ohio RICO statute), Conspiracy to Traffic in Drugs, and Funding of Drug Trafficking and was to serve ten years in prison. The Court accepted the plea but postponed Ross’ sentencing hearing so that, while out of jail on bond, he could attend his son’s birthday party before going to prison. The court warned Ross that he faced 30 years in prison if he violated the conditions of his bond and did not return for sentencing.

In spite of the court’s warning, Ross violated the conditions of his bond when he failed to appear for his July 9, 2013 sentencing hearing. He remained on the run until he was arrested after using a false name when he was booked into the Cuyahoga County jail on other charges. The Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office notified the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office who then returned Ross to Scioto County.  Ross was convicted of fraudulent identity in Cuyahoga Count and awaits trial on other charges in Franklin County.

Ross was indicted by the Scioto County Grand Jury for failure to appear for his sentencing hearing and faces up to eighteen months on that offense. Ross has felony convictions in Clark County, Hocking County and Franklin County.

COURT OF APPEALS AFFIRMS CONVICTION IN 22nd STREET BLOODS CASE-Prosecutor Mark E. Kuhn

July 25, 2016

COURT OF APPEALS AFFIRMS CONVICTION IN 22nd STREET BLOODS CASE

The Fourth District Court of Appeals has affirmed the conviction of a member of the Columbus street gang, 22nd Street Bloods, for his participation in a heroin trafficking operation smuggling heroin and cocaine from Columbus to Portsmouth.   Thomas 0. Smith, 27, of Columbus, was convicted by a common pleas jury after a four day trial held in February, 2015. In a judgment entry written by Appeals Court Judge Marie Hoover, the Court affirmed Smith’s convictions on eleven counts including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activities, conspiracy to traffic in heroin, trafficking in heroin, and engaging in gang activity.

Twenty two people, most of whom were members or associates of the 22nd Street Bloods street gang in Columbus, were indicted in July, 2014, by the Scioto County Grand Jury after an investigation by the Southern Ohio Drug Task Force and the Columbus Division of Police Strategic Response Bureau (“gang unit”).  All twenty-two defendants indicted have entered pleas of guilty or been convicted by jury.

According to evidence presented to the jury by Assistant Prosecutors Pat Apel and Julie

Hutchinson, the investigation began in earnest in the summer of 2013, and included frequent trips by the Defendants transporting heroin from Columbus to Portsmouth to be sold from residences in the PMHA facility in Farley Square, residences on 5th Street, 6th Street, Scioto Trail, 16th Street, and 7th Street, as well as from several bars in Portsmouth and on several street comers in the East End and through Portsmouth.  Witnesses, who described themselves as drug addicts and prostitutes, testified  before the jury that the gang members would bring amounts of heroin ranging up to 400 grams per day to be packaged  and distributed in Scioto County.  The Prosecutor ‘s Office estimated  that the cash taken by the gang members back to Columbus was in the hundreds of thousands  of dollars.

At the sentencing hearing held in February,  2015, Common  P leas Court Judge William T. Marshal,  who sentenced Smith to 40 years, stated  that drugs had fractured  the foundation  of this community. “We don’t want any more of your drugs down here,” Judge Marshall  said to Smith. “We’ve had enough.  We want Scioto  County  to be the place it was when  we were growing  up. We want it to be a place where people can work and raise families  without  the fear of drugs  in

this community. We’re telling you and others like you to stay out of our county if you’re selling drugs.”

“This was a very organized distribution operation  spreading heroin all through Scioto County,” Apel said.  “The  Columbus Gang Unit was very helpful  in the investigation of this case.  They were instrumental in the July 2014, sweep  in Columbus in which the Defendants were arrested  in Columbus on Scioto County  indictment  warrants.   They provided  criminal intelligence on the 22″d Street  Bloods that led to evidence and eventually convictions in this case.

According to the investigation, the Bloods first began bringing heroin to Scioto County as early as 2006.”

According to the presentation by the prosecutors, Task Force Officers seized  a number of cell phones during the investigation. Testimony in the case showed  that the gang members used one business  number, a Scioto County  number,  for individuals in Scioto County  to order heroin or cocaine.   Witnesses  testified  that they would  buy heroin or cocaine  any time of the night or day by calling  the business  number.   Analysis  of the cell phones by the Southern  Ohio Drug Task Force and the FBI revealed  that the criminal  gang members  received  over 111,000  incoming phone calls on their business  phone between January  1, 2013 and June 15,2014, an average  of 210 calls per day.

Smith has six previous felony convictions for drug trafficking in Franklin  County and had been released  from prison in November 2013.  Testimony showed  that he began selling  heroin in Scioto County shortly  after his release.   He was arrested  on June 9, 2014 and has been incarcerated since.   He is presently serving  a 40 years sentence  in this case.  Other Defendants had several felony convictions from both Franklin  and Scioto Counties.

Engaging in a pattern of corrupt activities  is the Ohio version of the Federal  Racketeer Influenced Corrupt  Organizations Act, often  referred  to as RICO.  The criminal gangs statute  is aimed  at organized  street gangs.

The Fourth District Court of Appeals  handles appellate cases in fourteen  counties in Southeastern Ohio.  Judges  William  H. Harsha and Peter Abele joined Judge  Hoover in the Decision  and Judgment Entry.

Assistant Prosecutors Apel and Hutchinson submitted  the State’s brief to the Court of Appeals and argued  the case before the court.  The Defendant was represented  on appeal  by the Ohio Public Defender’s Office.

LAST DEFENDANT PLEADS IN STATE PARK HEROIN RING

June 13, 2016

 

LAST DEFENDANT IN 2013 SHAWNEE STATE PARK

HEROIN RING PLEADS GUILTY

 

Scioto County Common Pleas Judge William T. Marshall sentenced the last man in a Dayton heroin ring to seven years, eleven months for Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activities (often referred to as the Ohio RICO statute), Trafficking in Heroin and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Robert C. Woods, Jr., 27, of Dayton, was the last of five defendants to plead guilty in the August 1, 2013 heroin seizure at Shawnee State Park.  Phillip Hanson-Bass, 27, of Dayton, Ryan T. Starks, 25, of Dayton, Brittney Sadler, 28, of Dayton, and Sasha M. Woods, 32, of Portsmouth, (no relation to Robert Woods), were indicted on December 20, 2013, along with Robert Woods, by the Scioto County Grand Jury, on charges of Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activities, Conspiracy to Traffic in Heroin, Firearms violations, and Trafficking in Heroin.

According to information presented to the Court by the Prosecutor’s Office, the heroin was discovered August 1, 2013, when the housecleaning crew entered a cabin after checkout time and found over 500 grams of heroin, a variety of pills and over $11,000 in cash in plastic bags on the bed. Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Park Rangers and Southern Ohio Drug Task Force officers seized the drugs and the cash and waited for the occupants to return to the cabin. That evening, Hanson-Bass, Robert Woods and Brittney Sadler were apprehended as they returned to the cabin area.  Later in the evening, Sasha Woods and Ryan Starks were arrested in Adams County by Park Rangers, the Southern Ohio Drug Task Force Officers  and Adams County Sheriff’s Deputies after a high speed chase on SR 125, reaching speeds of 90 miles per hour.

“The evidence in this case indicated that this was an established heroin ring smuggling heroin from Dayton to Portsmouth on a regular basis,” said Assistant Prosecutor Pat Apel. “All the Defendants except one were Dayton residents.  According to the statements given by the Defendants, the drugs were often delivered to a cabin at Shawnee State Park or another State Park for cutting, bagging and distribution.”

Court records indicate that Starks was sentenced on August 21, 2014, to 10 years in prison for Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activities and Heroin Trafficking.   Sasha M. Woods was sentenced in September, 2014 to five years community control for Aggravated Trafficking in Drugs.  She served 6 months in prison.  Brittney Sadler was sentenced to five years community control for Conspiracy to Engage in a Pattern of Corrupt Activities.   Phillip Hanson-Bass was captured in Atlanta and extradited to Ohio and, on September 10, 2015, received a sentence of 9 years in prison.  Robert C. Woods was captured in Miami, Florida, and extradited to Ohio for trial.

Court records indicate that Robert Woods has a prior felony conviction for Possession of Heroin. Phillip Hanson-Bass has prior felony convictions for Failure to Comply with Order or Signal of Police Officer, Obstructing Justice, Carrying Concealed Weapon and Trafficking in Heroin, and Sasha Woods has a prior felony conviction for Attempted Obstructing Justice.

Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activities is the Ohio version of the Federal Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act, often referred to as RICO.

 

NEW SECRET SERVICE OFFICER TAKES OATH-Office of County Prosecutor Mark E. Kuhn

May 16, 2016

Scioto County Prosecutor, Mark E. Kuhn announced today that on May 16, 2016, James Charles began his duties as a Scioto County Secret Service Officer.  Mr. Charles took his oath of office as a Secret Service Officer on that date.  Investigator Charles has been assigned as the Investigator responsible for trial preparation and major crimes handled by the Scioto County Prosecutor’s Office.

Investigator Charles is a retired officer of the Portsmouth Police Department, where he served as a police officer for 23 years.  Investigator Charles had obtained the rank of Sergeant with the Portsmouth Police Department and served as a Detective for that Department for 21 years. Investigator Charles has also served in the Ohio Army National Guard since 2007.

Ohio law allows for the appointment of secret service officers to aid the prosecuting attorney in the collection and discovery of evidence to be used in the trial of criminal cases and matters of a criminal nature.  Prosecutor Mark Kuhn said “I am happy to welcome Jim Charles to the staff of the Scioto County Prosecutor’s Office and am excited at the possibilities his experience will bring to felony prosecutions in Scioto County”.

Investigator Charles will join Investigator Larry Gray, who is also appointed as a Secret Service Officer, and has held that position since 2005.

Franklin Furnace Woman Pleads Guilty to Manufacture of Meth and Endangering Children

FRANKLIN FURNACE WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO
MANUFACTURE OF METH AND ENDANGERING CHILDREN
May 5, 2016, Scioto County Common Pleas Judge Howard H. Harcha, III received guilty pleas from a Franklin Furnace woman for the Illegal Manufacture of Drugs-Methamphetamine, and two counts of Endangering Children.
Sara Watts, was indicted by the Scioto County Grand Jury after Scioto County Sheriff deputies, and officers of the Southern Ohio Drug Task Force, discovered and decontaminated a “one-pot” methamphetamine lab in the same home housing four children in Franklin Furnace, Ohio in December, 2014.
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the Sheriff’s Department subsequently called the Southern Ohio Drug Task Force who responded to a separate residence in Franklin Furnace in February, 2015 once again seizing and decontaminating methamphetamine production materials, including a measuring cup containing traces of meth with co-defendant Anthony Stapleton’s name plainly labeled on the bottom.
Sara Watts, 32, of Franklin Furnace was indicted on identical charges as being involved in, and complicit in both incidents.
After having remained at large for quite some time, Sara Watts was sentenced on May 5, 2016 to 6 years in prison by Judge Howard H. Harcha, III.

CITIZEN COMPLAINTS FOIL NEIGHBORHOOD HEROIN RING

April 21, 2016

CITIZEN COMPLAINTS FOIL NEIGHBORHOOD HEROIN RING

Common Pleas Judge William T. Marshall received guilty pleas and sentenced eight local residents to prison arising out of a heroin ring operating in a quiet neighborhood in Portsmouth.   The Scioto County Prosecutor’s Office and the Southern Ohio Drug Task Force brought the case under the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the Ohio RICO statute, which prohibits engaging in a pattern of corrupt activities.

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the investigation by the Drug Task Force began in early 2015 after repeated complaints of drug activity in the High Street-Summit Street neighborhood south of Mound Park in Portsmouth.  Citizens reported heavy vehicle traffic in the neighborhood at all hours of the day and night involving people stopping momentarily in front of certain houses, waiting until someone came from the house and delivered small baggies of heroin.  Task Force Officers made several wired purchases from two specific locations in the area and forwarded the drugs to the BCI laboratory in London, Ohio, to confirm the substances were heroin.

The investigation continued through the summer and fall of 2015 and, in February, 2016, the Scioto County Grand Jury returned a secret indictment charging ten local residents with drug trafficking and racketeering.  Eight Defendants entered pleas of guilty and were sentenced in the Common Pleas Court on April 19, 2016.

Among those sentenced were Christopher A. Eckstein, 37, and Natalie Moore, 29, both of 1609 Summit Street. Eckstein received a sentence of 9 years and Moore received 8 years.  Kenyatta D. Connally, 40, of Portsmouth,  received a sentence of 9 years, Michel Deshon Booth, 41, 1808 High Street, received a sentence of 8 years, Tiffany Eckstein (aka Tiffany Bussler), was sentenced to 8 years, as was  Cassie Hall (aka Cassie D. Whisman), 29.   Harold Douglas Slark, 42, and Norma Carroll, 38, both of 1611 Summit Street, were sentenced to 6 years each.

“These individuals were importing heroin from the Columbus-Washington Court House area into the Summit Street neighborhood in large quantities,” said Assistant Prosecutor Pat Apel. “It was the combination of citizens’ complaints and the hard work of the Task Force that brought this to light.”

Eckstein, Connally, Booth and Whisman were in prison on other offenses at the time they entered pleas this week.  The sentences received by these Defendants will run consecutively to their present sentences.

Money seized during the arrests amounted to $9,615.00 and was forfeited to the State for use in drug enforcement efforts in Scioto County.

Two other local residents, Amber Cummings and Cory Partlow, still await court dates.

MICHIGAN WOMAN CONVICTED OF TRAFFICKING IN OXYCODONE AND HYDROCODONE

MICHIGAN WOMAN CONVICTED OF TRAFFICKING IN OXYCODONE AND HYDROCODONE

March 7, 2016

Scioto County Court of Common Pleas Judge William T. Marshall Wednesday, March 2nd sentenced a Michigan woman to 8 years in prison for trafficking and possession of Oxycodone and Hydrocodone.  Yolanda Dukes, age 44, most recently of 17661 Collinson Avenue, Eastpointe, Michigan, was convicted Tuesday afternoon after a one and a half day jury trial.

Dukes was indicted arising from an incident on January 2, 2015. Dukes was pulled over by a trooper with the Ohio State Highway Patrol for a minor traffic violation.  During the course of the stop, the trooper became suspicious of the demeanor and answers of Mrs. Dukes and a passenger in the vehicle.  This led to a search of the vehicle where five hundred oxycodone pills and two hundred hydrocodone pills were discovered.  A subsequent four-count indictment for trafficking and possession of the two controlled substances was filed against Mrs. Dukes and Daryl Brown, the passenger.  Mr. Brown is still on the run and believed to be in the Detroit area.

The jury heard from two state troopers and a chemist with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations.  The jury also heard the testimony of Mrs. Dukes.

The State’s case was presented by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Shane Tieman. The Defendant was represented by Attorney Matthew Loesch.

Tieman said, “Thanks to the vigilance of our Highway Patrol officers, we were able to intercept these drugs and prevent them from further poisoning our community.”

FRANKLIN FURNACE MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO MANUFACTURE OF METH AND ENDANGERING CHILDREN

Anthony StapletonFRANKLIN FURNACE MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO MANUFACTURE OF METH AND ENDANGERING CHILDREN

January 6, 2016

Scioto County Common Pleas Judge Howard H. Harcha, III received guilty pleas from a Franklin Furnace man for the Illegal Manufacture of Drugs-Methamphetamine, and two counts of Endangering Children. Anthony Stapleton, 33, was indicted by the Scioto County Grand Jury after Scioto County Sheriff deputies, and officers of the Southern Ohio Drug Task Force, discovered and decontaminated a “one-pot” methamphetamine lab in the same home housing four children in Franklin Furnace, Ohio in December, 2014.

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the Sheriff’s Department subsequently called the Southern Ohio Drug Task Force who responded to a separate residence in Franklin Furnace in February, 2015 once again seizing and decontaminating methamphetamine production materials, including a measuring cup containing traces of meth with Anthony Stapleton’s name plainly labeled on the bottom. Co-Defendant, Sara Watts, 32, of Franklin Furnace was indicted on identical charges as being involved in, and complicit in both incidents and remains at large.

“The fact that Ms. Watts remains at large is of great concern, but we are glad Mr. Stapleton has been sentenced to prison on these charges,” Assistant Prosecutor Jay S. Willis said. “Any information pertaining to the whereabouts of Sara Watts should be forwarded to the Scioto County Sheriff’s Department as soon as possible.”

Stapleton has been lodged in the Scioto County jail since his arrest November 2, 2015. Stapleton was sentenced on January 4, 2016 to 6 years in prison by Judge Howard H. Harcha, III.

COLUMBUS MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO TRAFFICKING IN HEROIN AND COCAINE

COLUMBUS MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO TRAFFICKING IN HEROIN AND COCAINE

November 9, 2015

Scioto County Common Pleas Judge William T. Marshall received guilty pleas from a Columbus man for trafficking in heroin and cocaine.  Kylan M. Hansard, 38, 3075 Elmreeb Drive, Columbus, was indicted by the Scioto County Grand Jury after Municipal Court Probation officers conducted a field visit on a probationer and discovered a large quantity of heroin, cocaine, marijuana, syringes and drug paraphernalia in an apartment at 1500 6th Street, Portsmouth.

According to information presented to the Court by Assistant Prosecutors Pat Apel and Julie Hutchinson, Hansard and five others were in the apartment to trade shoplifted clothing and hygiene items in return for payment in heroin and cocaine. After knocking and announcing their presence, the probation officers arrested Steven A. Johnson, 39, of Portsmouth, on an outstanding warrant.  Johnson resisted and was taken into custody forcefully.

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the probation officers called the Southern Ohio Drug Task Force who responded and seized heroin, cocaine, and marijuana, a 2007 Pontiac, digital scales with drug residue, sandwich baggies used to transfer drugs, a loaded firearm and $2641 in cash. These items are forfeited to the State.  Arrested with Hansard and Johnson, were Karen McCleese, 39, Tonia Thomas, 39,  Jessica Weaver, 25, and Ruben Johnson, 29, all of Portsmouth.

“This is another case of an out of town drug dealer bringing large quantities of drugs into our county,” Apel said. “This defendant had the locals rent an apartment and then he used it as a trap house, a place for addicts to bring stolen items and buy drugs and use the drugs right on the premises.”

Hansard will be sentenced in January to 9 years in prison.   McCleese, Thomas and Ruben Johnson are scheduled to plead guilty.  Steven Johnson is not in custody.  Drug charges against Weaver have been dismissed.  She is pending charges of failure to appear for court.  Steven Johnson, McCleese, Thomas and Weaver have served prior prison terms for drug-related offenses.